Retired Americans and those soon to retire breathed a sigh of relief after the passage of the most recent COVID-19 relief bill, which includes stimulus checks and solutions for other problems older Americans face.
Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Rich Fiesta joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to analyze the new COVID-19 relief bill and the PRO Act and the uphill battle it faces in the Senate.
What is in the COVID-19 relief bill?
The big headlines that came out of the new COVID-19 relief bill related to stimulus checks. However, the bill contained plenty of other worker-friendly provisions that have been long sought after by Democrats.
Fiesta said the major win was in terms of pension plans. Union pension plans were heading down with the decrease in union membership. However, Democrats worked in a provision to fund these plans for decades, giving relief to those who are retired or plan to retire.
He added that this funding was better than expected. In 2014, Democrats pushed to loan money to these pensions, which would eventually be paid back. The funding from the COVID-19 relief bill is grant money, which does not have to be paid back.
Passing the PRO Act
Fiesta applauded the House of Representatives for passing the PRO Act, arguably the most significant changes to labor law since the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. The legislation gives workers the right to a quicker organizing process, imposes larger and more enforceable fines on employers and more.
However, Fiesta said the bill has an uphill battle in the Senate, where Democrats hold the thinnest of majorities.
With some Democrats even skeptical about the legislation and all Republicans most likely being against it, Fiesta said Democrats may have to modify or remove the filibuster rule. He concluded by explaining how Republicans and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have done everything they can to force legislation through with a simple majority, so why can’t Democrats do the same.